Authors: Katie O'Sullivan
Tags: #Romance, #Fiction, #Contemporary
A blinding smile lit her face,
and she waved with enthusiasm. His heart skipped a few beats as his blood all went lower down.
She bee-lined to the table, calling his name. “Chase? Chase! It’s so good to see you again! Thanks
for inviting me to lunch!”
He found himself rising to greet her for the second time inside an hour. Instead of sitting, she came to where he stood and wrapped her arms around his neck. She planted an exaggerated kiss on his cheek, like the one he’d envied Tony for the prior day, those soft red lips wet on his skin. His arms slipped around her waist and his stomach clenched hard, inappropriate thoughts racing through his head at breakneck speed, leaving him dazed. Staring down, he saw similar confusion mirrored in Emma’s eyes, as if she felt it too, that electric current running fast and furious between them at every point where their bodies connected. And she wasn’t letting go.
Kudos for Katie O’Sullivan
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another The Wild Rose Press, Inc. title by Ms. O’Sullivan.
Crazy About You
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Crazy About You
COPYRIGHT © 2015 by Katie O’Sullivan
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708
Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com
First Champagne Rose Edition, 2015
Print ISBN 978-1-5092-0214-0
Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-0215-7
Published in the United States of America
For my mom, who nurtured my love of books.
Chase Anderson stood on the dock and checked his watch again. Even though he scheduled this trip at the last possible minute, he expected the captain to be punctual. Yet here it was, thirty minutes after the agreed upon time with no sign of the captain or his boat.
He scrubbed his fingers through unruly brown hair, vaguely aware of needing a cut after being out at sea for most of the last ten weeks. Not that it mattered all that much in the grand scheme of things. He’d find time for a haircut eventually, but today held more important worries.
Another lobster boat chugged into Provincetown Harbor, heading to dock on the far side from where Chase and his intern waited. Fishermen called out to one another, tourists meandered along MacMillan Wharf, their voices mixing with the steady chug of boat engines and filling the area with life and movement against the backdrop of clear blue skies. Several gulls circled above the incoming boat, screeching to one another in a pleasant cacophony. The scene felt familiar even though he’d never been to Provincetown before today.
This trip made the third voyage in a row without a break. He wondered if his intern had any regrets about his choice of summer jobs.
At least this trip doesn’t include sleeping on board the boat
. The bunks on the last vessel had been less than comfortable. After eleven years, life on the water was losing its allure.
Pulling a slip of paper from his pocket, Chase double-checked the place and time. He was definitely in the right place…so where was Captain Scott?
“Give it a rest, Charles-in-Charge.” Todd gave his shoulder a playful punch. “Not everyone in the world runs on New York time.”
Chase grimaced at his childhood nickname, regretting he’d ever shared that particular story with the intern. “I know we’ve been working together all summer, but I still prefer Dr. Anderson. Besides, you’re too young to have ever watched that television series.”
Todd laughed. “Ever heard of late night reruns? I love those vintage shows.”
“Vintage? It was only the 80’s.”
“Exactly. Like all the CDs onboard for the last few weeks. I didn’t know anyone still owned CDs, let alone so many vintage bands.”
“Queen and Madonna aren’t
” Chase bristled at the kid’s choice of words. It made him feel old. Hell, he was only thirty, not geriatric.
“You’re right. They’re technically classic rock, but you gotta admit the captain’s taste in music sucked. Seriously, so what if this boat’s late?”
Chase frowned, shrugging off the feeling that Todd was too young to be a grad student. Or maybe the problem was him. He liked things to go according to exacting plans even though he knew schedules were more fluid out in the field.
Am I getting too old to still be doing hands-on fieldwork?
He took a deep breath, striving to put the situation in perspective instead of further analyzing his personal motivations. “We’re quickly losing our window of opportunity.”
“So? Then we start tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind a chance to settle into the motel first, maybe explore Provincetown a little. I’ll bet there’s a beer with my name on it not far from here.”
A cold beer sounded damn good at the moment, after standing on the dock in the hot August sun for more than half an hour, especially wearing long pants and work boots. “I hear you. But the USGCRP isn’t paying us to hang out in random bars along the Massachusetts coastline.”
Todd made a face and readjusted his glasses. “Doesn’t change the fact we spent the last month at sea. Hell, we only docked in Woods Hole on Friday. It’s not the U.S. Global Change Research Program that I have a problem with. It’s your myopic, workaholic view of the world. I certainly never expected this internship to end up being all work and no fun.”
Chase narrowed his gaze, crossing his arms over his chest. “Don’t hold back, kid. Tell me how you really feel.”
“Sorry, dude, but it’s true. The trip was amazing, and I learned a helluva lot already this summer, but I need a day off. Maybe two. It’s August and I haven’t had a one-night stand or weekend fling all summer long. When was the last time you kicked back and let yourself relax?”
His back stiffened. “There was beer on board the last research vessel. I drank a can every night with you and the crew.”
Todd laughed. “I’m not talking one light beer with dinner, dude.”
“Not all of us are still grad students. This project is my baby, and the success or failure of my presentation next month rides on it.”
“All the more reason for us to find that bar,” Todd insisted.
The cell phone in Chase’s pocket chirped, cutting off any ultimatum his intern might levy. He lowered his sunglasses to glance at the display and quickly answered the call. After a short conversation, he clicked the Off button, sighing heavily. “I guess you get your wish. That was Captain Scott. Seems one of his crew took sick and they had to put in way up at Cape Ann to get him to a hospital. They won’t be making it back to the harbor today.”
Todd grinned. “Hey, I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but I can’t even pretend to be sad.” He hoisted the duffle bag of gear over his shoulder. “Let’s go find that cold one.”
Chase hefted the second bag of equipment, groaning at how stiff his knees had gotten while standing around. Between the weeks at sea and back-to-back long car rides, his body would appreciate the day off as much as Todd. But first things first. “We need to drop the equipment back at the motel room. Then you can go drinking.” Maybe the kid was right; they should have taken a few days in between to write up the findings from the first trip. And upload that last batch of photos he’d taken with his cell phone. Next time he’d pack a spare camera battery, but the phone seemed to work nicely in a pinch.
“Oh no you don’t.” Todd shook his head vigorously. “All work and no play makes Dr. Anderson a rather boring old boss. You are coming with me on my quest, and I won’t take no for an answer.” He marched to the rental car with Chase trailing behind. “Let’s ditch these bags and lock the car. I saw a ton of bars on our way through town, all of them within walking distance. We can keep drinking until we find one you like.”
Chase deposited the second canvas duffle. “I don’t know about this. There’s thousands of dollars of equipment here, equipment that belongs to the University. I’d feel better if it was locked up back in the motel room.”
Todd grabbed the keys and clicked the locking mechanism. The car horn beeped in response. “There. All locked up. You’re stalling.” Todd turned and walked away.
Chase had no choice but to follow, dragging his feet across the public parking lot. A pub near the edge of the marina looked like a cross between somewhere local fishermen might hang out after work and something a little more upscale, designed with tourists in mind. Between the weathered wood siding and the red and white geraniums overflowing from canoe-shaped window boxes, the place actually had a bright, welcoming feel. Okay, maybe he could chill for one afternoon. He’d check in with the researchers in New York later in the day. He wasn’t completely comfortable leaving others in charge of his work back in the lab, but he needed to follow up on this lead right away. He’d get back to the university in a few days. Plenty of time to finish the report.
He caught up with Todd at the door. “You win, the beer’s on me. But do you really think I’m boring? Or…old?”
Todd smiled and clapped him on the back. “You’re not the worst boss to have, but you are kind of intense. You need to lighten up.”
“Intense?” Chase frowned, stuffing his sunglasses into one of the myriad pockets on his pants. “Of course I’m intense! Getting the message out about climate change is rather crucial to the continuation of life on our planet. Not just life as we know it, but any life at all. The acidification of the oceans is a critical dilemma. How can I lighten up when there are vital problems to be solved?”
Todd faced him, poking a finger into his chest. “You are the smartest guy I know, but I think you’re missing some important facts. More important than solving the world’s ecological problems.”
“Like drinking beer and meeting girls.” He gave Chase a wide smile and nodded to a couple coming down the sidewalk. “I’ll bet that guy didn’t bag that hot blonde by talking acidification or eutrophication, or whispering sweet nothings about that sexy garbage gyre we’re stalking.”
Chase turned to look, the sarcastic retort dying on his lips. For possibly the first time in his life, he found himself at a loss for multisyllabic words. “Wow.”
Straight blonde hair pulled into a tight ponytail, high cheekbones sprinkled with light freckles. The tailored skirt hugged ample curves in all the right places, and below the short hem stretched legs a mile long. She laughed at something her companion said, a deep throaty sound that twisted Chase’s stomach into a knot and made his breath catch. “Wow,” he repeated.
“You can say that again. Oh wait, you already did.” Todd chuckled. “Maybe being stuck in P-town won’t suck so hard after all.”
The blonde stopped on the sidewalk, going up on tiptoes to plant cherry red lips on the guy’s cheek. A hot wave of jealousy rippled through Chase like physical pain. He dismissed his body’s reaction.
Ridiculous. I don’t even know her
She crossed the street and disappeared into one of the many gift shops while the guy continued down the sidewalk. The dark-haired stranger wore pressed khakis and a white button-down shirt, looking cool, collected, and somewhat superior despite the mid-day heat. Even though he didn’t know the guy, Chase already hated him.